The Knicks lost an ugly and disappointing game to the Bulls in Chicago to move to 14-5 and end their five game wining streak.
The Knicks trailed 26-23 at the end of a rough first quarter. After a quick 6-0 start, the Knicks realized how great of a defensive team the Bulls are. There were very few open shots throughout the quarter and the ball movement wasn’t there. After the Knicks were outscored 10-0 after the 6-0 start during a four minute stretch. Raymond Felton was fouled hard on the left hand by Taj Gibson with two minutes left in the quarter and appeared to be in serious pain. But Felton bounced back and scored the next seven points for the Knicks. The three pointers were not as frequent, with Ronnie Brewer taking the first three with 8:38 remaining in the quarter. Rasheed Wallace hit the Knicks only two threes of the first quarter including a banker with 3.5 seconds remaining to tie the game. Wallace’s three, however, was answered back by a 43 foot shot by Marco Bellinelli, who was undoubtedly the story of the quarter, scoring 15 points.
The Knicks started off the second quarter awful offensively as the Rasheed Wallce-Pablo Prigioni pick and roll struggled. The Knicks did not make a shot from the field until there was 6:20 remaining in the quarter, but their defense kept them in the game. The Bulls were on the verge of pulling away, up 7 after a Nate Robinson jumper, when a pivotal play occurred. After being called for a loose ball foul, Taj Gibson was given two technical fouls. After Novak made both free throws, Felton hit a jumper, and Novak nailed a three pointer, the Knicks had tied the game. Ultimately, however, the Knicks could not overcome their 8 turnovers in the quarter and trailed by two at halftime.
Mike Woodson surprisingly started Kurt Thomas in the second half, but the majority of the third quarter was a two man game between Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler. Felton played great early in the quarter finding his own shot and making a few decent passes to Chandler. Unfortunately for Felton, the shots stopped falling and he didn’t stop taking them. Chandler was particularly dominant in the quarter, getting a plethora of offensive rebounds. In the quarter, Chandler had 7 rebounds. JR Smith struggled in the quarter, missing all of his shots and missing a few defensive assignments. Jason Kidd made a few key plays in a game where he mostly struggled, hitting a few threes and having a nice block on Robinson. The Bulls were led by Nate Robinson, who started the second half due to an injury to Kurt Hinrich. The teams played to a stand still as the Bulls led 67-65.
The 4th quarter was a huge struggle for the Knicks, especially Raymond Felton. Felton shot 1-7 in the quarter as part of a 9-30 night. Tyson Chandler was inhibited by foul trouble; he got his fifth foul with 6 minutes left, but Coach Woodson left him in and he played the remainder of the game. Chandler’s inability to remain aggressive due to foul trouble hurt the Knicks as the balls got a number of loose balls and offensive rebounds that led to points. Overall, the quarter was very sloppy and the Bulls wore the Knicks down. Just as it was the much of the night, Felton and Smith played too much one-on-one and it got the Knicks in trouble. Led by Luol Deng and Nate Robinson and Nate Robinson, the Bulls pulled away as the Knicks failed to move the ball offensively, winning 93-85.
- Raymond Felton had 27 points, but shot 9-30 and only had five assists. There were points early in the third quarter where Felton was playing extremely well, but he seemed too focused on finding his own shot. When the shots stopped falling, Felton seemed even more determined to shoot. It didn’t work.
- JR Smith had one of those nights. He had five turnovers and shot only 4-14 from the field. Smith’s field goal percentage continues to fall in what was once a promising start. Smith also had a few defensive lapses and bad fouls; it is curious why Woodson stuck with Smith as long as he did.
- One of those Smith fouls came on a play where he inadvertently stepped into the passing lane and pushed Marco Bellinelli trying to get the loose ball. Bellinelli, however, will likely be hearing from the NBA after a clear flop.
- James White once again got minutes off the bench and played well. He didn’t take a lot of shots, but he played good defense and moved the ball pretty well.
- Pablo Prigioni barely played in the second half after a rough first half. Prigioni had o points and 2 assists in ten minutes.
- Jason Kidd had a very out of character game. He played a little sloppy, having three turnovers and taking a few wild shots.
- Kurt Thomas hit two key jump shots early in the fourth quarter, having his best shooting night of the year.
- Ronnie Brewer was virtually a non factor in his return to Chicago, even missing a wide open layup early in the fourth quarter.
- The Bulls defended Steve Novak particularly well, giving him little room to get off a shot. Novak only hit one three pointer. Overall, the Knicks made 8 of 23 behind the arc.
- The overwhelming sentiment in this game, though, was that the Knicks sorely missed Carmelo Anthony. In a night where no points came easy, the Knicks needed Anthony for his ability to make his own shot. When teams like the Bulls take away the three point shot, the Knicks need Anthony to open up the offense and make tough shots. Hopefully, Melo will be back when the Knicks play Denver tomorrow.